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Healthy Weight

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Terri R.
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Joined: 21 Apr 2004
Posts: 258
Location: So. Calif.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 2:10 pm    Post subject: Healthy Weight Reply with quote

When it comes to nutrition, it's easy to spend a lot of time worrying about what to eat. But how much you eat puts an even greater stamp on your long-term health than picking the right kind of fats or choosing exactly the right mix of vitamins.

How much you weigh (in relation to your height), your waist size, and how much weight you've gained since your mid-20s strongly influence your chances of:

* dying early

* having, or dying from, a heart attack, stroke, or other type of cardiovascular disease

* developing diabetes

* developing cancer of the colon, kidney, breast, or endometrium

* having arthritis

* developing gallstones

* being infertile

* developing asthma as an adult

* snoring or suffering from sleep apnea, or

* developing cataracts.

Despite the substantial impact of weight on individual health, and the soaring rates of obesity in the United States, relatively few Americans see excess weight as a problem. In a survey conducted by researchers at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, almost 1,000 Americans ranked obesity low on the list of serious health problems. Equally alarming, only 9 percent said their weight was a problem, even though more than half were overweight.(1) That's a shocking finding, given that excess weight leads to at least 300,000 deaths per year (2) and costs more than $70 billion each year in direct costs alone.(3) Obesity now accounts for more deaths and chronic disorders, and poorer health-related quality of life, than either smoking or problem drinking.(4)

If your weight is in the healthy range and isn't more than 10 pounds over what you weighed when you turned 21, great. Keeping it there-and keeping it steady-by watching what you eat and exercising will limit your risk of developing one or more of these chronic conditions noted above. If you are overweight, doing whatever you can to prevent gaining more weight is a critical first step. Then, when you're ready, shedding some pounds and keeping them off will be important steps to better health.

From: The Harvard School of Public Health
Full article: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy_weight.html
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